BOSTON (CBS) — The shortage of personal protective equipment is an issue facing countless medical professionals around the country as they try to combat the coronavirus. Most every American wants to help with that problem. Power couple Rob Gronkowski and Camille Kostek are in a position to actually make a major impact.
The couple sent 10,000 masks to Boston Medical Center and St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in New Jersey. And they’re not stopping there.
Kostek, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, posted videos to her Instagram that allowed followers to donate more money so that more masks could be donated to more hospitals.
“I am overwhelmed today in the best and worst way possible, in a sense that the gratitude that I have gotten from healthcare professionals on the front lines is beyond,” Kostek said. “Rob and I doing everything we could to figure out how to source these masks properly and get them in the hands of people that need them was not an easy task, but we navigated it to be able to get to these two hospitals specifically, immediately that I knew needed them. I knew people personally that were able to connect me with these hospitals to get them going right away.”
Seeing more hospitals in need of masks, Kostek directed her 746,000 followers to a Go Fund Me called “Behind The Mask.” Thus far, the account has raised over $67,000, with a goal of raising $250,000 to send masks to hospitals for doctors and nurses who need them. Kostek donated $60,000 toward that particular fundraiser.
“Thank you to the heroes in our world during this crisis for putting yourselves and your family and everything that you do on the line to help the well-being the people in our nation,” Kostek said. “I have cried a lot today. One of my eyes is like bloodshot. But thank you. I love you all.”
Kostek posted several updates to her Instagram story upon seeing the donations roll in.
“So many of you have donated and have given me hospitals to add to the list,” he said. “I swear I have the best followers in the world, where messages relate, they resonate, and you respond. I feel blessed to have your guys’ eyes and ears and listening because you are helping make such a difference. F— yes!”
Sports Illustrated swimsuit editor MJ Day, whose husband is a physician at St. Joseph’s, posted a heartfelt thanks to Kostek and Gronkowski on Instagram.
“What Camille and Rob have done for this hospital, the caregivers, the patients, and the community made me cry tears of joy,” she wrote. “It’s been restorative to my faith that we can make a difference no matter how big or small. It shows me that the type of people that I get to work with care about me and you just as much as we care about them. And no matter what team they played for, we are all on the same team now.”
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So when we all say we are a FAMILY at @si_swimsuit I mean it in the truest sense of the word. @camillekostek is a former #siswimsearch winner, SI Rookie and 2019 Cover Model. @gronk is her partner in life and @patriots legend and friend and supporter of this brand. They just donated 10,000 KN95 masks to both @sjhnj and @bostonmedicalcenter. And I am moved beyond words. But this type of generosity deserves words. On a personal note, I have been appealing to people to #stayinandsew #flattenthecurve and support their local hospitals and caregivers in need. My husband is a physician at @sjhnj and many of our friends and colleagues are on the front lines there fighting this pandemic. Like many of the hospitals in the epicenter of this war, they are critically short on supplies. Especially masks. What Camille and Rob have done for this hospital, the caregivers, the patients, and the community made me cry tears of joy. It’s been restorative to my faith that we can make a difference no matter how big or small. It shows me that the type of people that I get to work with care about me and you just as much as we care about them. And no matter what team they played for, we are all on the same team now. There is no way to quantify the gratitude I have for you both. Let’s motivate others to do the same, or what they can to help our hospitals and caregivers battle for us. Make a mask, stay home, donate, use your platform. Do what you can, because it all matters. These masks equate to lives saved. Period. Thank you. ❤️
In the letters accompanying the masks, Kostek and Gronkowski included a brief message: “May these bless you and protect you while you do what you do best. Thank you for being the heroes we need at such a critical time. We love you!”